Fuel Crises in Nigeria are Signs of Major CrisesProf.R.A Ipinyomi Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi
Nigeria is a leading world exporter of petroleum and has been doing so almost since her independence from Britain in 1960. One school of thought has it that the then British Government did not realize the amount of fuel available in Nigeria soil or indeed the financial implication of fuel in the world as at the time they agreed to free Nigeria. If they knew they might have kept Nigeria on hold for a longer while, after all the Northern part of the country never wanted Britain to go. Another school of thought has it that if the British stayed till 1970 or even 1980 Nigeria would have been transformed into a place like South Africa where you have well developed economy in one part and extreme poverty on the black population side. Whatever the school of thought Nigeria would still be the loser in a game with a clever Queen and shroud Prime Ministers on one side and a disunited group of regional warlords on the other.
The problem Nigeria has are three folds and very clear to us. Nigeria is deficient in leadership and on purpose of unity. We have many fine Nigerians and a few of them had been leading us but they are deficient in identifying or pursuing factors that could have truly united us. They have all been too selfish and leaning to regional and religious pursuits. The second factor is living a diabolical life and expecting the results to be saintly. Our leaders in many instances were at best ritualists and expecting that positive results could result from darkness as it is from light. By far the most significant and third factor is ignorance of governance. You don’t have to have obtained a diploma in administration or political science or some others but you need to have read something about them and be guided. Our political and administrative leaders have been illiterates, highly dozed in nepotism, corruption and no preparation for leadership at anytime.
Therefore a major world producer of fuel is always lacking in the same because she lacks the capacity to understand the system of cleaning the item and distributing for her own economic development. The streets in Nigeria have continued to witness long queues at petrol stations in every state. Motorists travel out to get black market anywhere and at any price. Meanwhile, Nigerian government officials and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, would however like to describe the reappearance of long queues of vehicles at filling stations everywhere in Nigeria as an artificially induced scarcity. They would claim that there were absolutely no reasons for filling stations not to sell fuel to the people. By putting out task forces, comprising NNPC, PPPRA, and the DPR, they have indirectly acknowledged the existence of the bad situation.
The Nigeria government had believed that people were hoarding because some petroleum marketers had thought that government was going to raise the price of petrol. This is too simplistic and shallow. You sell one liter of oil you make only that much gain but another that sells 10 liters would make ten times more gain. You hoard your oil Nigerians are praying against you and you would be hurt. You don’t hoard and they would pray for you and you would be blessed. Even those the people pray for are hardly blessed enough but those they cursed are cursed indeed. People in Okene in Kogi state of Nigeria have learned this law of action and reaction. All this while when there had been long queues in other places motorists had been refilling there. Government should reward Okene instead of thinking that they are violent people. I am from Kogi but not from Okene.
The system of using local refineries to feed the local needs has been replaced by paying favourites and already rich companies some subsidies for importation of fuel. Such an arrangement is prone to corruption, bottle neck delay in the high seas and political jams. The Federal Government through the PPPRA would release quarterly allocation of fuel importation to petroleum marketers, who would there after commence importation of the products. Then the vessels for the importation would arrive on the West African waters waiting to come into Nigeria; while we expect the marketers not to delay in getting the products into the country.
It is in the best interest on President Jonathan and his team to serve the people of Nigeria well and create no further hardship especially in fuel distribution for domestic consumption. If we lost the technical ability to refine just a small fraction of what we dig out of nature’s kindness for use how do we explain ourselves if we didn’t have it and still have to export same for our economy? Everyone wanted to rule but none had the capacity of what it would take, everyone wanted the lust of the office but didn’t have the slightest idea that it should be business before pleasure. Logically our refineries should be working and finished petroleum products should have been exported.
Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi,
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